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Big Buck’s the banker as Aintree opens its Grand National meeting

| 07.04.2011

Two Cheltenham Festival winners are likely to start the first two races of Aintree’s Grand National meeting as odds-on favourites – does it get any better for punters?

Aintree is a course in which speed is a huge positive and Big Buck’s and Zarkander can get punters off to a flyer.

Big Buck’s is looking for his twelfth win in a row and despite a minor scare earlier in the week, can once again reward the punters faith and is currently available at 4/7.

Zarkander also suffered a scare earlier in the week and he may drift out to around 1/1 as the race draws nearer.

But the Paul Nicholls-trained four-year-old beat a lot of top horses in the Triumph Hurdle and his class is undoubted – he’s currently priced at 4/5 to win the 2.30.

Next up is the enigmatic Denman who fought so bravely to finish second for the third time in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and with positive vibes emanating from the camp, Denman can win his first race since November 2009 and is 11/8 to win the 3.50.

Ruby Walsh is back on board Denman for the first time since that win at Newbury and his return is a major bonus for punters.

It looks as if Aintree is going to be a punters day today as Baby Run can atone for his Cheltenham error in the 3.40 and is currently the 7/2 favourite to win.

The 4.15 is where the favourite run ends with novice Mamlook the pick of the 13 runners at 6/1.

The two 2/1 joint-favourites Medermit and Wishfull Thinking will battle out the 4.50 with the preference for Wishfull Thinking and the 5.25 is a very open race in which we’re siding with 20/1 outsider Rio Gael.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.